Our criminal justice system works under the premise of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The court of public opinion however, works a little differently. For that reason a Kirkland, Washington, woman's criminal defense attorney made a rather unusual request for his client when his client appeared before the judge in her arraignment hearing on charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and driving while impaired. Because the defendant has young children, she requested to have her face obscured from the media during the hearing.
The judge in the Seattle King County Superior Court trial granted her request. The charges stem from a head-on crash in which the 42-year-old defendant is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription medications. The crash occurred the first week of August on Juanita Drive and, according to reports the defendant allegedly crossed the center line at part of the road that bends, a colliding with an oncoming vehicle being driven by an 86-year-old Bellevue man.
The male driver of that vehicle was critically injured in the crash and remains in the hospital in and out of consciousness. According to family members, he has no memory of the accident. The man's 81-year-old sister was a passenger in the vehicle and was killed in the collision. Two other passengers were treated at a local hospital and have since been released.
The female driver charged in the accident is being held in King County jail on a $500,000 bond. She pleaded "absolutely not guilty" to the charges at her arraignment hearing and requested her bail hearing be postponed and the judge granted her request. Her next court date is September 10th. Her defense attorney released a statement on behalf of his client's family stating that they are very upset by the events and are sorry for the victims and pray for them daily.
The defense attorney also stated that there has been misinformation reported about the crash and cautioned the media to not jump to conclusions as the defense's investigation is just getting started. His client's blood alcohol test has not even been released yet so all the facts are not yet known. Remember, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law - every person regardless of the crimes in which they are accused deserves a vigorous defense of his her rights. This case, although very tragic, is no different.
Source: Kirkland Patch, "Breaking: Kirkland Woman Pleads 'Absolutely Not Guilty' in Fatal Crash," Greg Johnston, Aug. 23, 2012
Our law firm handles a variety of criminal defense cases, including vehicular assault and vehicular homicide similar to the case discussed in the above post. Visit our Kirkland traffic crimes web page to learn more about our services.